Welcome to your new home!
The start of the new academic year has arrived. I am pleased to welcome our returning students back to UK’s College of Arts & Sciences.
And I am thrilled to have so many new students joining us.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the home of knowledge. It is the home of Aristotle and Plato. It is the home of Einstein and Galileo. It is the home of DuBois and Skinner. It is the home of Darwin and Goodall. It is the foundation of all professions, it is home to the scholarship, written communication, and quantitative reasoning of all major discoveries.
And now it is also your home. For the next four years, you have been granted the time and space to learn to live a life driven by the mind. Spend the time wisely. It is the biggest investment you will ever make. Use it to explore some of the most pressing questions of our time, challenge major assumptions, adopt new opinions, investigate long-standing theories, discover new worlds, dream big dreams, and sharpen your critical thinking skill sets. Use it to be tested and tasked, to define yourself for yourself and to begin your professional and personal life.
That is the essence of an A&S education. By attaining an arts and sciences degree you will demonstrate that you know “how to think”; “how to analyze”; “how to reason”; “how to communicate”; “how to be ethical”. Skills that are adaptable to any situation – personal or professional. By majoring in an A&S discipline, you will demonstrate that you understand how one particular perspective views the world – whether it is through a historical lens, a biological framework, or an anthropological understanding.
This is an incredibly diverse, intellectually-rich space to explore the person you want to become. For many of you it was a major decision for you to choose to come here. You researched, visited, and contemplated your college choice. But making the decision to come to UK is only one-part of determining whether that was a good decision. Now, comes the part of enacting that decision to make it the best place for you.
The resources are here for you to take advantage of:
- Go to the office hours of each of your professors some time during the first two weeks of classes, introduce yourself, and talk to them about their discipline. Ask them whether they see it heading the future and what it is like being a physicist? Or sociologist? Or a writer?
- Spend time with your advisor, ask them about interesting courses and co-curricular experiences.
- Study. Don’t look at it as a chore. Experience it.
- Take part in co-curricular experiences. There will never be another time when you will have the opportunity to spend your days thinking interesting thoughts, attending provoking lectures, watching novel films, participating in empowering discussions.
On Sunday, May 8, 2016, when you walk across Rupp Arena and I hand you your diploma, I hope you can tell me that this time wasn’t wasted. That your mind was stretched and broadened, that you learned a new language, culture, religion, that you wrote a poem, you extracted chemicals, that you led a group. I hope you can tell me that you lived a life driven by the mind.
Here’s to the next four years.
Dean, UK College of Arts & Sciences